3 Firms Running Close Race in Japanese Blu-ray Recorder Market

Aug 7, 2008
Mami Akasaka, Tech-On!
BD recorder sales share on a unit basis (source: BCN)
BD recorder sales share on a unit basis (source: BCN)
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Flat-panel TV sales share on a unit basis (source: BCN)
Flat-panel TV sales share on a unit basis (source: BCN)
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The competition in the market of Blu-ray Disc (BD) recorders is changing of late in Japan. Sony Corp, which had acquired 2/3 of overall unit sales in Japan in January 2008, saw its share gradually shrink since February and barely nosed out Sharp Corp and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd in July.

The shares of Sony, Sharp and Matsushita share were 33.6, 32.8 and 32.1%, respectively, according to sales results at 26 volume retailers of home appliances summed up by research company BCN Inc. Competition for market share among manufacturers has been intensifying since Blu-ray began spreading in earnest.

BD recorder sales accounted for 40% of the DVD recorder market on a unit basis and 60% on a value basis in July 2007. Overall DVD recorder sales also outperformed last year's sales for three months in a row since May 2008. On a value basis, overall DVD recorder sales grew more than 30% year-on-year (YoY) for two consecutive months in June and July.

Flat-panel TV sales maintained YoY growth of more than 10% on a unit basis, showing a growth trend on a value basis as well. The same top three BD recorder manufacturers ranked the highest in flat-panel TV unit sales rankings, with Sharp, Matsushita and Sony gaining a 47.4, 17.9 and 15.7% share, respectively, in July 2008.

Sony used to rank second until June 2008, but dropped to third in July, impacted by sluggish sales of 40-inch and larger LCD TVs.

Summer heat stifled demand in July

Sales of both DVD recorders and flat-panel TVs grew favorably in May and June 2008 ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games, but YoY growth rates slowed in July compared with June. Air conditioner sales rapidly rose in July to twice as high as a year ago, according to retailers. BCN considers consumers shifted to air conditioners from video equipment due to heat waves.